On this Fiction Fun Friday, I’m taking you back in time to 1895 when men were gentlemen, ladies valued their reputation, and a horse might stick his nose where it didn’t belong. This excerpt is actually taken from a story I’ve started that I hope you’ll be reading one day. Here’s Laurie and her Lawman!
Laurie Rains stood in the wide-open doorway to the barn. She let her eyes adjust to the dim interior before stepping inside. Josh should be doing his chores, not traipsing around after the deputy. To think an outlaw’s son would take to a U. S. deputy marshal the way Josh had to Seth Collins. She shook her head and grinned. The boy’s father must be spinning in his grave.
Joe couldn’t dictate to her and Josh anymore who they made friends with. Her smile faded. As if folks in these parts wanted to socialize with anybody named Rains. Good Christian people mostly looked down their noses at her and Josh, excepting when they needed doctorin’. Then they came calling.
“Josh, are you in here?” Laurie peered into the silent barn. Didn’t appear to be a single soul. Not even a horse. The stall where Seth kept Pal stood silent and open, but she peeked in anyway. If they went riding without telling her, with the work piling up faster than the three of them could get it done, she’d send her deputy, posing as a farmhand, packin’.”
Laurie laughed. As if she could send Seth anywhere he didn’t want to go. He came to her in the back of her wagon with a bullet in his chest, but soon as her no account brother-in-law barged in demanding his take of the gold from him and Joe’s last job, Seth decided to stay. It wasn’t like she had any say about it, either. Bein’ a deputy marshal made him a mite determined to have his way. At least here lately he’d stopped actin’ like she’d stole that gold or had it hidden somewhere about her farm.
Something scraped across the wood floor in the back of the barn. Laurie stepped around a pile of hay. Looked like one of ‘em must’ve forked some down from the loft before they took off. She nodded her approval. At the backside of the hay, Laurie stopped.
Seth led Pal in the back door. He tossed a saddle to the side but didn’t look up. Maybe he hadn’t seen her. She let her gaze rove over the tall, good-lookin’ man leading his horse toward her. Soon as he found that gold, he’d leave. She’d sure miss him even if he was a lawman. His hat was pulled down low, so she couldn’t see his eyes, but she’d never forget what they looked like. Such a pretty shade of blue with long, thick, dark lashes to match his wavy black hair hidden under his Stetson. She pressed a hand to her heart to still the pounding that always started when she saw Seth.
He lifted his head and hesitated. “Hey, what’re you doing out here?” He moved closer, his grin wide, and his eyes centered on her.
She could scarcely breathe. What was she doing? Oh, yeah. “Lookin’ for Josh.”
“Haven’t seen him.” Seth stopped an arm’s length from her. He held Pal’s reins in his right hand. His beautiful blue eyes searched her face. “Laurie, I’ve been thinking.”
“That so?” She tried to sound sassy, but her voice came out in little more than a squeak.
His eyes moved over her face, burning a trail to her lips. She shivered as he stepped closer. “Yeah, maybe I’ve been thinking too much. Sometimes a man needs to act instead.”
“Act?” Her eyelids lowered as he leaned toward her. Pal’s soft whicker sounded as background music. She lifted her face to Seth’s.
His warm breath caressed her lips. Pal lowered his head behind Seth and let out a loud whinny.
“Oomph!” Seth jerked forward against Laurie, his eyebrows shooting up and his eyes widening, as he knocked her backward.
She squealed. Her fingers clutched his shirt, his arms tightened around her, and his weight pinned her in the hay.
Now Josh shows up. Laurie groaned and tugged down her rumpled skirt and petticoats.
“My stars! What’s going on here?” Laurie would recognize May Morehouse’s shocked voice anywhere. The woman loved a good piece of gossip and never hesitated to pass on everything she learned. Where’d she come from anyhow?
Seth growled before rolling away and scrambling to stand. From her prone position, Laurie looked from his outstretched hand to the scowl on his face. Did he blame her for falling? His horse pushed him against her. She’d done nothing wrong, but not a single soul in the entire town of Jennyville would believe that. She took his hand and let him lift her from the hay.
“Guess we’ll be having a wedding at the church.” May moved as if to leave. “I’ll go inform the pastor.”
“Stop right there. I’ll speak to Pastor Jones myself.” Seth’s voice rang out without wavering. He met Laurie’s wide-eyed stare with a gentle smile. “That is if you’ll have me. Maybe this happened for a reason. Something I’ve been thinking about a while now.”
Deputy Marshal Seth Collins wanted to marry her, an outlaw’s widow? He’d been thinking about it? Laurie couldn’t find her voice, but she could nod.
Seth grinned and Josh sprang forward to grab Seth’s hand and pump it furiously, his face wreathed with a wide smile. “Looks like you’ll be staying longer than you thought, Seth.”
“Yeah,” Seth nodded, his grin never wavering. “Looks like it.”